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"I believe that to meet the challenges of our times, human beings will have to develop a greater sense of universal responsibility. It is the foundation for world peace."

After the Dalai Lama, what?

February 3, 2010

By B.Raman
Sri Lanka Guardian
February 3, 2010

Chennai -- Even while pretending to avoid the
discourtesy to His Holiness the Dalai Lama of
discussing what could happen after him while he
was still alive, the Chinese authorities have
indirectly dwelt on this subject at a press
conference held on February 2,2010, to brief the
Beijing-based media on the outcome of the ninth
round of the dialogue with Mr.Lodi Gyari and
Mr.Kelsang Gyaltsen, the special emissaries of
His Holiness , from January 26 to 31. It is
understood that the dialogue consisted of one day
of formal talks in Beijing and a visit to
minority-inhabited areas for a briefing on
China’s policy towards its ethnic minorities.

The Chinese Communist Party was represented in
the talks with the representatives of His
Holiness by Mr.Du Qinglin, Vice-Chairman of the
National Committee of the Chinese People’s
Political Consultative Conference, and Mr. Zhu
Weiqun, Executive Vice-Minister of the United
Front Work Department of the CPC Central
Committee. The media briefing was held by Mr.Zhu.

Mr.Zhu made it clear that it was not a
Sino-Tibetan dialogue, but a meeting with two
"private representatives" of the Dalai Lama on
the future of His Holiness and his associates and
not on the future of Tibet and the Tibetan
people. He dismissed the Dalai Lama's claim of
being the "legal representative" of Tibetans. He
said: “The Chinese Government and the Government
of Tibet Autonomous Region under its leadership
are the only representatives of Tibetans.”

He said that during the talks, the Dalai Lama's
"private representatives" refused to "revise a
single word" in the Memorandum for All Tibetans
to Enjoy Genuine Autonomy which they had
presented at the previous round, nor did they
make any concession. They insisted that the Dalai
Lama is "a legal representative of broad
Tibetans" and would like to talk with the Central
Government about the "Tibet issue" and "the
welfare of 6 million Tibetans," he said.

Mr.Zhu added: "The so-called 'Tibet
government-in-exile' composed of those who
defected to India and gathered there absolutely
violates China's laws. The private
representatives have no legal status to discuss
with us the affairs about Tibet Autonomous
Region. They are only the Dalai Lama's private
representatives, so they can only talk about the
prospect of the Dalai Lama, at most, the
prospects of a small party around him."

Mr.Zhu also warned of serious damage to Sino-US
relations if US leaders were to meet with the
Dalai Lama, saying the move would "harm others
but bring no profit to itself either." The US
side would violate international rules by making
such a decision. Such a move would be both
irrational and harmful, he said. "If a country
decides to do so, we will take necessary measures to help them realize this."

He Your browser may not support display of this
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not support display of this image. said the talks
with the representatives of the Dalai Lama "had
some upside" as they let both sides know exactly
their differences and how wide the differences
were. He added: "It helps the Dalai Lama realize
the position he has been in. The Central
Government wanted to give the Dalai Lama a chance
to correct his mistakes by holding talks with his
envoys. The talks were not without result, as the
Central Government arranged trips for the envoys
to visit central Hunan Province to better
understand the country and the regional ethnic autonomy policy.”

According to Mr.Zhu, when the previous round
ended in November,2008, after the Chinese
rejected the Memo presented by the
representatives of the Dalai Lama, Mr.Lodi Gyari
left saying they would not want any new round of
talks, but this time after the latest round
failed, Mr.Lodi Gyari said the talks will continue in the future.

Mr.Zhu objected to some of the past remarks of
His Holiness describing himself as -- a son of
India -- and projecting Arunachal Pradesh, which
the Chinese describe as southern Tibet, as
belonging to India, and asked: "Can these act and
words of the Dalai Lama improve relations with
the Central government?" Mr. Zhu said it was
imperative that the Dalai Lama should "match word
to deed." What he sought to convey was that if
His Holiness really felt that Tibet was part of
China, he should not support India’s claim to Arunachal Pradesh.

He added that the Central Government wanted the
Dalai Lama to abandon his alleged attempts to
split the country, cease separatist activities,
openly admit that Tibet was an inalienable part
of China and Taiwan was an inalienable part of
China and the Government of the People's Republic
of China was the only legal government representing China.

The most interesting part of the briefing was
about what could happen in Tibet after His
Holiness. Mr.Zhu was asked by one of the
journalists if he felt that the Tibetan issue
would become more difficult to handle after the
death of the Dalai Lama. He replied: “ Chinese
people, including Tibetans, will decide the
future of Tibet. It is not polite in China to
talk about the possibility of a 75-year-old man
passing away. We hope he can live a long life.
The Central Government hoped the Dalai Lama could
settle his affairs concerning his own prospects
while still alive and would not pass away abroad.
Since the armed rebellion in 1959, what did the
Dalai Lama get except that he was pushed further
and further away from the journey home? His
followers should ponder what they should do when
the Dalai Lama departed this life.”

Asked to comment on whether there would be an
upsurge of violence and terrorist activities
after the death of the Dalai Lama,Mr. Zhu said he
believed most Tibetans living abroad loved peace
and would like to contact their family and
friends in Tibet and be engaged in Tibet's
development. It could not be ruled out that a few
people would turn to violence, but history had
showed that violence and terrorist activities would inevitably end in failure.

(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd),
Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi,
and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical
Studies, Chennai. He is also associated with the
Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-Mail: seventyone2@gmail.com )
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